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A "Picture Perfect" hint from Vikki Bouffard of Victoria Art & Frame--Handling and framing pastels is our topic this month, a tricky art form to frame. I'm sure you've all seen those gorgeous pastel paintings, and unfortunately, pastel dust on the face of the mat or on the beveled edge under the glass. There are a few things that can be done to, if not totally eliminate, at least reduce the occurrence of those distracting pastel particles.
First, pastels should be double matted to keep the artwork away from any static electricity that may have built up on the glass during cleaning. Be sure to never use acrylic glazing on a pastel painting for that very reason. The static electricity on acrylic will actually pull the pastel from the surface of the painting.
Next, a spacer should always be used between the painting and the mats. Depending on the effect you wish to achieve, this can be as thin as a piece of mat board or thicker, as in a piece of foam core. This spacer should be cut slightly larger than the window of the mat, so it will remain hidden behind the mat. The theory is that the particles from the pastel will fall in this area, not on the edge or face of the mat.
All of that works pretty well, but the last thing is that pastels need to be handled carefully. Use care in framing if you are doing it yourself, perhaps even propping the painting up, rather than laying on its face when putting your piece together. Also, make sure that people handling your artwork at a show are aware that it is pastel, and it should not be placed face down or handled in a jarring manner.
It is not always possible to totally eliminate this problem, but these actions will greatly reduce it. Hope this helps! Happy Painting!
If anyone has any subjects they would like addressed, just call or send me an e-mail.  860-274-8222


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